Bulls vs Rockets Betting Lines NBA Nikola Vucevic Could Return For Chicago

Bulls vs Rockets Betting Lines NBA | Nikola Vucevic Could Return for Chicago

The Chicago Bulls have been without All-Star center Nikola Vucevic for several games, but he is out of COVID protocols and could return on Wednesday as the Bulls visit the awful Houston Rockets, who are underdogs on the NBA odds.

How to Bet Chicago at Houston NBA Odds & TV Info

  • When: Wednesday, 8 PM ET
  • Where: Toyota Center
  • TV: NBA League Pass
  • Stream: NBA.com, NBA TV app
  • Radio: Tunein.com
  • NBA Odds: TBA (Bulls will be favored)

Series History

Houston leads all-time 71-70. The Bulls swept the 2020-21 season series 2-0 after losing seven in a row prior, which was their longest losing streak in the all-time series. Houston hasn’t lost three straight to Chicago since a five-game span from 2/28/09-12/4/10. Since losing three straight at home from 3/13/14-3/5/16, Rockets have won four of the past five at the Toyota Center.

Why Bet on Chicago?

Playing the second of a back-to-back and without a couple of key guys, the Bulls were upset at home by Indiana 109-77 on Monday. The Pacers came out of the gate firing on all cylinders offensively, opening with a 26-9 run. It was a one-sided affair for much of the night, with Indiana stretching its lead to as many as 35 points in the fourth. Chicago had a few offensive spurts, but ended up with 36.5% shooting for the game. The Bulls played their reserves for the entire final frame.

DeMar DeRozan contributed 18 points and two assists in 27 minutes. The veteran had scored at least 20 points in five straight games before Monday. Zach LaVine was held to 17 points in 26 minutes. He had an off night struggled badly in terms of his efficiency since he needed 18 shots to barely record 17 points. It snapped a streak of 14 straight appearances with at least 20 points. DeRozan and LaVine are two of only 7 in the league to score 20-or-more-points 14 times this season.  DeRozan leads the NBA with 126 4th-quarter points, followed by LaVine in the No. 2 spot with 111.

Chicago played without All-Star center Nikola Vucevic and key reserve Alex Caruso. According to Bulls head coach Billy Donovan, Caruso appears to be dealing with a bruised wrist, but they don’t believe that the injury will linger: “It’s basically a bruised wrist right now … Right now, it doesn’t look like it’s something long term.”

Caruso is questionable for Wednesday as is Vucevic. He has not played since November 1h before he tested positive for COVID-19 but is out of protocols. Vucevic is now in the process of ramping up his conditioning to make his return to the Bulls lineup. His minutes will be limited if he plays Wednesday.

Last season the Bulls ranked at the bottom of the league (30th) at the charity stripe, averaging just 13.8 made free throws on 17.5 attempts per game, connecting on 79.1% (11th). So far this season the numbers are far better across the board, with an average of 17.3 makes (3rd), 20.3 attempts (14th) and shooting mark of 85.0% (1st). Chicago is averaging just 12.9 turnovers per game, which is the 4th best in the league. Last season Chicago ranked 27th with 15.1 per game.

Why Bet on Houston?

The Rockets lost their 15th straight game Monday, 108-90 in Boston. The Celtics broke it open with a 17-0 run midway into the third quarter, holding the Rockets without a point for 6 minutes. No Houston starter reached double-digit scoring. The Rockets’ only win came at home against Oklahoma City in their second game.

Rookie No. 2 overall pick Jalen Green had just nine points in the loss for Houston, which shot 37.3 percent as a team and went 11-of-42 from three-point range in a game that was out of control by the end of the third quarter. While Green has shown some encouraging signs thus far, it’s been a relatively disappointing start for him as he’s shooting well below 40 percent from the field and 30 percent from three. Another rookie, Alperen Sengun, recorded eight points, six rebounds and seven assist.

Starting point guard Kevin Porter Jr. (left thigh contusion) said he will play on Wednesday. KPJ has missed the past three games. His return will shift Eric Gordon back to the second unit and Garrison Mathews could drop from the rotation entirely.

The Rockets lead the NBA in free throw attempts (24.1 per) and are third in FTA differential (+2.6 per). Only six teams are averaging more than 21.0 FTA. Houston has held Songun opponents below 45.0% shooting in 10 of the 17 games this season with the opposition shooting 45.1% (48.0% in 2020-21). The Rockets rank 10th in 3-point defense this season (opp. 33.3%) after finishing 27th in 2020-21 (opp. 38.2%).

Houston is being outscored by an average of 11.2 ppg this season (-7.9 in 2020-21; 27th in NBA). The Rockets have trailed by double-digits 13 times this season (0-13 mark; 5-52 in 2020-21). They Rockets have lost by 10+ points 12 times this season (37 times in 2020-21), including 20+ three times (15 times in 20-21). The Rockets are 1-2 when leading after three quarters of play this season (15-7 in 2020-21) and 0-14 when tied or trailing (2-48 in 20-21).

Expert Prediction

  • Bulls 112, Rockets 105

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